Google I/O Announcement Roundup

Posted on May 7, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Google Chrome, Dev, Internet of Things (IoT), Google, Hardware, Mobile, Android, Smart Home with 10 Comments

I’m plenty-busy here in Seattle for Microsoft Build, but I wanted to at least provide a quick rundown of today’s Google I/O announcements. If I can, I will expand on some of these items later in the week.

Google finally gets privacy. Spurred by antitrust action around the globe, Google is finally getting serious about privacy and is expanding its end-user privacy tools and making them more discoverable as a result. It will let you auto-delete web and app activity from your Google account on a schedule and will soon do so for location history too. Finally, the incognito feature from Chrome is coming to more Google apps, including Maps and Search. Learn more here.

Chrome cookie control improvements. Chrome will add improved visibility into how sites are using cookies and could be tracking users. And it will provide controls that allow users to clear cookies that are used across sites. This way, cookies can still be used to preserve logins but not to track them when they go elsewhere. Learn more here.

Search improvements. Google’s core Search service is picking up the Full Coverage feature from News so that you can learn more about topics in results. It is also getting AR capabilities so that you can view products you’re searching for in the real world. (For example, how a pair of shoes might look with clothes you already own.) And Google Duplex support will help you get more done, starting with car rentals and movie ticket purchasing. Learn more here.

Google Assistant improvements. Google is bringing more and more Assistant capabilities directly on-device, which will help answer questions up to 10 times faster. Improved personalization functionality will bring more useful suggestions, including recipes, events, and podcasts. A new driving mode will help you access the Assistant while using Maps or Waze. And you’ll be able to turn off alarms and timers with your voice. Learn more here.

Nest is Google’s helpful home brand. Many, myself included, figured that Google was going to kill the Nest brand when they brought it in-house to its Home group. Instead, Google is killing Home and will now use Nest as its helpful home brand. Learn more here. A new Google Nest Hub Max fixes all the problems with the Google Home Hub, thanks to its camera and larger screen. Learn more here.

Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL. Google now has more affordable handsets that offer most of the features from its too-expensive flagships. I wrote about that earlier today.

Google Lens improvements. Google Lens is being updated so that you can look at menus in restaurants and highlight the most popular dishes. Google Lens is also coming to Google Go. Learn more here.

New accessibility features. Google showed off some tear-inducing new accessibility features at its I/O keynote, including an AI-based method for transcribing spoken words for those with speech difficulties. Learn more here. And a new Live Relay feature for the Phone app on Pixel handsets uses on-device speech recognition and text-to-speech conversion to allow the phone to listen and speak on the users’ behalf while they type. Learn more here.

I’m sure there’s more. But I’ll be looking more closely at Google’s announcements, and rewatching the Google I/O keynote again when possible.

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Comments (10)

10 responses to “Google I/O Announcement Roundup”

  1. Pbike908

    I like the new cookie and fingerprinting changes to chrome. It appears that Microsoft Edge switching to chromium is forcing change.

    I also applaud Google for the pixel 3a line. That should get Apple's attention.

    • ruusterc

      In reply to Pbike908:

      unfortunately i dont think it will because as long as people are buying phone on payments or contracts the Xr is still gonna be the better value or the S10 e an for people that want to by a phone out right motorola an samsung make phones that rival the 3a and are cheaper dont get me wrong i like the 3a but i would rather them do what they did with the nexus line offer a high end flagship phone at a low cost that would get apples attention

      • nicholas_kathrein

        In reply to ruusterc:

        The camera is key and if you showed that to most people looking to only spend around $400 to $500 and don't have to have an iPhone would choose this over all other phones. No one has phone in this price range with a camera that is tops in the market.

  2. heyitstodd

    "Google finally gets privacy"

    As Chromium, and thus Chrome are eliminating the ability to disable hyperlink auditing, this statement is demonstrably false.

    Paul, have you heard if Edge folks are planning on giving users the ability to block this?

  3. codymesh

    if google really cares about privacy, they would make incognito mode the default, and make data collection opt-in.

    • Bats

      In reply to codymesh:

      Lol... That's really dumb dude.

    • nicholas_kathrein

      In reply to codymesh:

      Agree with comment below. That would be dumb. There is a reason why Google leads with it's assistant. They have been using the customer data to not only improve the product in general but that data is key to helping each person customized to each user. By being default off the assistant would be just as bad as SIRI which is very bad. Most iphone users don't use SIRI because it fails them so often.

  4. jules_wombat

    Its great to see Google Competing with Microsoft on promoting improved accessibility technologies. Pretty well head to head.

    The major take away is that Google are promoting nueral compute on the device and IoT, with some pretty awesome Speech to Text perfomance on the device., without resource to Cloud services. And Google work on interpreting layers of deep neural nets, to purpose expliainbale AI, an essential feature if we are going to gain trust these technologies. Nice to see more live Demos at Google IO keynote.

  5. nicholas_kathrein

    Agreed. Many of the things that helped people who can't read or have hearing or speech issues was really touching. As much as we hope companies add features like this we really just don't see it. I thought the videos were really powerful and how great it is for these people who design and make these products. They should be recognized. I though Google did a great keynote and even though it wasn't flashy lots of good here.

  6. walterwood44

    When will Google Assistant learn that when I say "Hey Google" that not every device within hearing has to respond?